Mystery of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home founder

There has been an appeal launched, aimed to discover more information about the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home founder after it was revealed that she lived in Huntingdon for 27 years.

The woman who founded the home for stray dogs over 151 years ago was called Mary Tealby, but there is little known about her other than that.

Researchers have, so far, not even found so much as a picture of Mary but the home is extremely keen to speak to anyone who may have even a slight family connection to her.

Information gathered so far is that Mary was born to Mary and Edward Bates in 1802. According to some records found in Huntingdon, Mary’s father was the owner of one of the chemist stores in the centre of the town.

Original site of the dogs' home, in Holloway
Original site of the dogs' home, in Holloway

It is also known that Mary had two siblings, Edward and John and that they were all christened in All Saints’ church where the family would regularly attend.

Mary married her husband in the year 1829 and they moved together to Hull. It was to follow this in 1860 when Mary was to set up her first home for stray or lost dogs in the Holloway area of London.

Sadly Mary fell ill and died on 3rd October 1865. It was after this, in 1871, when the charity was to move to its current location in Battersea.

Battersea’s chief executive, Claire Horton, said:

“Mary Tealby’s legacy has helped improve the lives of animals all over the world, and by restoring her grave we will ensure a lasting memorial to this remarkable woman.”

“Sadly, very little is known about Mary. She was divorced and didn’t have any children when she passed away. We’d love to find out more about our founding lady and would like to hear from anyone who thinks they may have a family connection.”